Kawakawa Berry Broth, Pipis, Young Kawakawa Leaves
You may have seen them all over your garden and not even realized what they are. Kawakawa is a tree that grows throughout the North Island and the top half of the South Island. Kawakawa is probably the most used herb in the Maori pataka (pantry). Kawakawa is considered a sacred tree with many cultural and medicinal attributes and culinary uses.
The leaves are used to flavour food in Hangi and also to make tea. The berries of the Kawakawa when ripe were eaten straight off the tree or picked and kept to be used as a seasoning. Kawakawa is also used in sprinkling water in purification rituals. Kawakawa is also a symbol or birth and death. A leaf or sprig of Kawakawa placed underneath a female or between her breasts prior to intercourse was thought to aid conception. On the flipside, kawakawa branches are wore as a head wreath when a death in the whanau has occurred.
Serves 2 – 3
500g Pipis (Diamond Shell Clams)
1 Small thumb of Ginger, peeled and chopped
½ White Onion, chopped
3 Green Kawakawa Berries
3 Kawakawa Leaves, stems removed and blanched
1 Garlic Clove
½ cup Beer (A neutral tasting larger is best)
½ cup Coconut Milk
1 tspn Palm Sugar, crushed into small pieces
12 Young Kawakawa leaves, picked with stems removed
¼ cup canola oil + 2 tbsp to cook with.
Lime juice, to taste
Salt, to taste
Combine the ginger, onion, garlic, kawakawa berries, blanched kawakawa leaves, palm sugar and ¼ cup of canola oil in a high speed blender and blend into a fine paste.
Place the kawakawa paste into a saucepan and cooked at a medium-low heat – stirring continuously – for 5 minutes. The paste will thicken and intensify in flavour.
Add the beer to the paste, stir ingredients together and increase the heat to high.
Once the liquid begins to boil, add in your pipis and coconut milk. Give the ingredients one quick stir then immediately place a lid on top of your saucepan. When the clams just begin to pop open, remove the lid and continue cooking without the lid for 1 minute.
Season your pipis and broth with salt and a squeeze or two of lime juice.
To serve, pour a small amount of broth into the bottom of a bowl and then arrange 5 – 6 pipis (depending on size) in the middle of the broth.
Garnish with young kawakawa leaves and serve immediately.